[House Report 108-220]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

108th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    108-220




   July 21, 2003.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 


     Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Transportation and 
                Infrastructure, submitted the following

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                             together with

                             SEPARATE VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 288]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the resolution (H. Res. 288) directing the 
Secretary of Transportation to transmit to the House of 
Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the 
adoption of this resolution all physical and electronic records 
and documents in his possession related to any use of Federal 
agency resources in any task or action involving or relating to 
Members of the Texas Legislature in the period beginning May 
11, 2003, and ending May 16, 2003, except information the 
disclosure of which would harm the national security interests 
of the United States, having considered the same, report 
unfavorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the 
resolution not be agreed to.

                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    House Resolution 288 directs the Secretary of 
Transportation to transmit to the House of Representatives not 
later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this 
resolution all physical and electronic records and documents in 
his possession related to any use of Federal agency resources 
in any task or action involving or relating to Members of the 
Texas Legislature in the period beginning May 11, 2003, and 
ending May 16, 2003, except information the disclosure of which 
would harm the national security interests of the United 


    H. Res. 288 is a resolution of inquiry, which pursuant to 
clause 7 of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, directs the Committee to act on the resolution 
within 14 legislative days, or a privileged motion to discharge 
the Committee is in order. H. Res. 288 was introduced and 
referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
on June 19, 2003, and was ordered reported unfavorably by the 
Committee on July 15, 2003.
    Under the rules and precedents of the House, a resolution 
of inquiry is a means by which the House requests information 
from the President of the United States or the head of one of 
the executive departments.
    The issues considered in addressing H. Res. 288 involve the 
subject of redistricting, an issue that is inherently political 
but also a foundation of the democratic process. An additional 
issue is the process by which legislative bodies compel 
members' attendance for the purpose of achieving a quorum.
    The majority of states as well as the Rules of the U.S. 
House of Representatives authorize a minority of the members to 
compel the attendance of absent members for the purpose of 
achieving a quorum. Consequently, seeking members for the 
purpose of securing a quorum so that the legislative body can 
address legislative business is an official government 
    H. Res. 288 asks for the production of records and 
documents in the possession of the Secretary of Transportation. 
By July 15, 2003, prior to the commencement of the hearing on 
H. Res. 288, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
had received all relevant documents requested by the 

Events in the State of Texas giving rise to the resolution

    As of mid May 2003, the Texas legislature was in the midst 
of a pitched debate on redistricting legislation after failing 
to adopt a plan during their prior session in 2001. To deprive 
the Texas House of a quorum, approximately 50 Democratic 
members left the state for Oklahoma. Some departed on Sunday 
afternoon May 11, 2003 and some on Monday May 12, 2003.
    On May 12, 2003 the Texas House of Representatives took 
action pursuant to its rules, instructing the Sergeant-at-Arms 
and officers appointed by Sergeant-at-Arms to return absent 
members, not previously excused from the House chamber. The 
Sergeant-at-Arms in turn asked the Texas Department of Public 
Safety (DPS) to secure, by any available means, including 
extradition if an absent member was outside the state, members 
and return them to the Texas House for the purpose of 
reinstating a quorum.
    The Attorney General of Texas wrote to DPS on May 12, 2003 
to verify the appropriate role of the DPS in helping the Texas 
House obtain a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. 
In that letter, the Texas AG identified the Texas 
constitutional provisions and the House rules relating to the 
issue and indicated that DPS had the authority to secure such 
attendance including the power to arrest members. He concluded 
by the letter by stating:

          This is a serious legal matter for the State of 
        Texas. I trust that all persons with information or 
        knowledge whatsoever of the whereabouts of any absent 
        member of the House will assist you and offer their 
        full cooperation in your efforts to execute the 
        directive of the House.

    A May 12, 2003 press release issued by the Texas Department 
of Public Safety asked ``the public for assistance in locating 
53 Texas legislators who have disappeared.'' According to the 
release, ``[u]nder the Texas Constitution, the majority of 
members present in session in the House can vote to compel the 
presence of enough members to make a quorum. Members of the 
House did so this morning and directed the Sergeant-at-Arms of 
the House and the DPS to locate the absent members and bring 
them back to Austin.''
    The search for members therefore was an enforcement action 
in which the public and all local, state, and federal 
government officials were being asked to provide assistance and 
relevant information on the fugitive legislators.
    By May 13, 2003 the Texas House of Representatives 
Sergeant-at-Arms wrote to the DPS and informed them that the 
efforts of the DPS were appreciated but that since the truant 
legislators had been found in Okalahoma the DPS was no longer 
needed to help find and apprehend them.

Practice of the U.S. House of Representatives to compel members for a 

    At the federal level, the United States House of 
Representative's Rules of the 108th Congress, set forth an 
explicit procedure to compel absent members to return. Rule XX 
(5)(a) requires that, in the absence of a quorum, at least 15 
members (which may include the speaker) can compel the 
attendance of absent members. Rule XX (5)(b) allows those 
members present to order the Sergeant-at-Arms to send officers 
to arrest members whodo not have a sufficient excuse for their 
absence, and allows the House to determine their discharge 

Practices of the States to compel members presence for a quorum

    The majority of states (41) have rules that allow a 
minority of legislators to compel absent members to return in 
order to form a quorum. Although most states do not articulate 
a specific method through which to compel this return, they 
allow the legislature a great deal of leeway to accomplish this 
task. One state that has a statutory mechanism for compelling 
attendance, Ohio, authorizes the same means found in House 
rules: arrest and return of the absent members. New Hampshire's 
Supreme Court has judicially created a rule that allows the 
Speaker of the House to compel member attendance.

Events involving the Federal Government giving rise to the resolution

    Three events occurred on May 12, 2003 that affect the 
agencies under the jurisdiction of the Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee. One deals with a direct inquiry by 
the Texas DPS to the Federal Aviation Administration to provide 
assistance in locating a plane that was believed to have been 
used to ferry some of the absent legislators out of Texas. The 
second was an inquiry from a U.S. House Member's office to the 
FAA to find out the same information. And finally, the Federal 
Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center contacted the 
FAA as a result of contacts AMICC received from the Texas DPS. 
Again the purpose was to find information concerning the plane 
believed to be ferrying legislators out of Texas. In all three 
cases the information provided by FAA was public in nature and 
available from both sources within the DOT as well as from 
several commercial and Internet sources.

Department of Transportation evaluation of the events

    There have been several Congressional and Administration 
inquiries since May 15, 2003 to review the events. To evaluate 
the conduct of individuals within the Department of 
Transportation, Kirk Van Tine, the DOT General Counsel, 
conducted an initial review. His office reviewed relevant 
emails, interviewed the parties involved, and produced 
transcripts of recorded conversations. On June 26, 2003 the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure requested all 
relevant information that his office had collected. On July 1, 
2003 Mr. Van Tine provided the information requested and 
advised the Committee that DOT Inspector General Ken Mead was 
undertaking an additional independent review. By the time of 
the Committee's July 15, 2003 hearing, the review of the DOT IG 
was complete and that the information had been provided to the 
    In addition, Mr. Mead participated in the hearing to 
summarize his findings. In his testimony and report Mr. Mead 
indicated that FAA personnel provided information that was 
publicly available through the Internet. Actions by the parties 
involved were consistent with the search for the truant 
legislators and the request of the Texas House of 
Representatives and the Texas Attorney General.
    The Committee members consistently praised the Department 
of Transportation and the Inspector General for the forthcoming 
nature of the information and the thoroughness of the IG's 
report. No information in the documentation of the IG or the 
records of the Department indicated that the requests to the 
FAA personnel were for any purpose other than to seek 
information to be used in finding the truant legislators as 
requested by the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas 
Attorney General.
    During the hearing, the DOT IG testified that air traffic 
safety was not compromised by the requests for information. The 
FAA air traffic controllers were operating in their normal 
course of duties. In addition, there were no findings that 
federal resources were misused or that agency personnel 
violated any departmental rules or regulations. In each case, 
FAA personnel appeared to act expeditiously and properly in 
providing the information requested during the May 12, 2003 
    The Committee determined that the information requested by 
the resolution had been received by the Congress prior to the 
Committee hearing and markup. At the hearing the sponsor of the 
resolution, Congressman Gene Green from Texas stated that he 
believed the purpose of the resolution had been achieved and 
recommended unanimous support of the Committee to report the 
resolution unfavorably.
    Because the House had possession of the records and 
documents identified by the resolution prior to the Committee's 
markup, the Committee deemed the resolution to be moot and, 
accordingly, ordered it reported unfavorably by voice vote.

                       SUMMARY OF THE LEGISLATION

    House Resolution 288 directs the Secretary of 
Transportation to transmit to the House of Representatives not 
later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of the 
resolution all physical and electronic records and documents in 
his possession related to any use of Federal agency resources 
in any task or action involving or relating to Members of the 
Texas Legislature in the period beginning May 11, 2003, and 
ending May 16, 2003, except information the disclosure of which 
would harm the national security interests of the United 


    H. Res. 288 was introduced on June 19, 2003 and referred to 
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. On July 15, 
2003 the Committee held a hearing at which time the sponsor and 
the Department of Transportation made presentations on the 
legislation and the result of the Department's inquiry into the 
matter. The hearing was followed immediately by a markup in 
open session, at which the measure was reported unfavorably, 
without amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                             ROLLCALL VOTES

    The Committee held no recorded votes.


    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

                          COST OF LEGISLATION

    The Committee estimates the cost of the resolution is 


    Clause 3(c)(2) of House rule XIII is inapplicable because 
H. Res. 288 does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.


    Pursuant to clause (3)(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, committee reports on a bill or 
joint resolution of a public character shall include a 
statement citing the specific powers granted to the Congress in 
the Constitution to enact the measure. The Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure finds that Congress has the 
authority to enact this measure pursuant to its powers granted 
under article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    H. Res. 288 does not involve Federal mandates.

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    The Committee states that H. Res. 288 does not preempt any 
state, local, or tribal law.


    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 


    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act. (Public Law 


    H. Res. 288 makes no changes in existing law.

                             SEPARATE VIEWS

    The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has a 
strong tradition of bipartisanship and it is not often that the 
Minority feels compelled to file separate views to the 
Committee's report on a bill or resolution. The fact that we do 
so in this instance underscores the seriousness of the issue at 
    The Committee, at the request of the sponsor of H. Res. 
288, Congressman Gene Green, reported the resolution 
unfavorably, by voice vote. We joined in this vote, not because 
we disapproved of the resolution, but rather because the 
resolution has been successful and resulted in a comprehensive 
investigation by the Department of Transportation's Inspector 
General, which was reviewed by the Committee in a hearing. The 
Inspector General's report and the Committee's hearing 
uncovered extremely disturbing facts regarding the misuse of 
federal resources for partisan, political purposes. We are 
therefore duty-bound to provide views separate from the 
Majority, in which we summarize these facts.
    Specifically, the Inspector General found that, acting upon 
requests from Congressman Tom DeLay and the Texas Department of 
Public Safety (DPS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 
used its expansive resources and mobilized a number of its 
facilities across the country to track down the aircraft of 
Texas State Rep. Pete Laney. Their efforts were part of a broad 
use of federal resources to track down Texas state legislators 
in an effort to help pass a controversial redistricting plan. 
Once FAA did find the plane, it reported that information to 
Cong. DeLay's staff and to the Texas DPS without ever asking 
why the information was needed and without ever verifying the 
identity of the DPS callers.
    While we recognize that the information ultimately 
requested of FAA--the location, past and present, of an 
aircraft--is information available to the public over the 
internet, it does not follow that any member of the public--
even a prominent Member of Congress--has a right to call a 
``red alert'' and mobilize FAA to track a particular aircraft. 
And let us make no mistake: a full-scale mobilization is 
exactly what occurred on May 12. In their initial phone call to 
FAA, Congressman DeLay's staff gave FAA the tail number of the 
Laney aircraft and, without ever providing a reason for the 
request, asked FAA to find the aircraft's location. Using their 
substantial resources, FAA tracked the Laney twin-engine Piper 
Cherokee plane and advised Mr. Delay's staff that the aircraft 
was due to land in Ardmore, Oklahoma ``in about seven 
minutes''. It was only through the DeLay phone call that he and 
the Texas State Republicans learned that the Democratic 
legislators were in Ardmore.
    This request for assistance was only one of several 
requests to FAA from Congressman DeLay, the Texas Department of 
Public Safety, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 
acting on behalf of the Texas Department of Public Safety. This 
series of phone calls, seeking information about the past and 
present location of the Laney plane, required at least 13 FAA 
officials at several different facilities, to check records and 
contact still more FAA officials in an effort to locate the 
plane. Finally, FAA instituted a full-fledged safety ``alert'' 
on the Laney plane for the entire region covered by FAA's 
Dallas-Ft. Worth Control Center. Under this alert, a message 
was sent to all air traffic control facilities in that region 
asking if they had any information about theaircraft. The 
message was sent to all FAA airport towers and FAA approach control 
facilities in the area, about 29 facilities.
    We strongly disapprove of this use of federal resources in 
order to gain political advantage. Under no circumstances 
should federal resources have been used to influence the 
outcome of the proposed Texas state redistricting plan, a plan 
clearly designed to ensure the election of a greater number of 
Texas Republican to the United States Congress.
    It is also significant that the efforts to use the resource 
of the federal government in the Texas political dispute were 
not limited to use of FAA. There were also efforts to mobilize 
resources of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. 
Although these efforts do not fall within the jurisdiction of 
the DOT Inspector General and therefore were not addressed in 
the Inspector General's report at the Committee's hearing, it 
is important to note that the misuse of federal resources 
appears to have extended beyond FAA to other Federal agencies.
    The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated. 
Individuals--no matter how prominent--cannot be allowed to 
mobilize Federal resources to gain advantage in a partisan 
dispute. To allow such misuse, is to betray the trust and good 
faith of the American public.
    At the hearing, some Majority Committee Members questioned 
the necessity of holding a hearing to examine the Inspector 
General's report, and even asserted that the hearing was a 
waste of the Committee's time. We strongly disagree. Hearings 
on investigative reports by Inspectors General or the General 
Accounting Office are routinely held as part of normal 
Committee business. These hearings educate Members and the 
public on the important issues covered by the reports. They 
also provide Members with an opportunity to probe the 
investigators on their findings and to clarify any questions 
that may stem from the written reports. Such was the case with 
this Committee hearing. Indeed, Member questioning solicited 
significant additional information including the implications 
of new FAA regulations and the Inspector General's opinion that 
he believes that was ``some waste'' involved with the requests 
to FAA.
    The seriousness of the issues involved were recognized 
immediately by senior officials at DOT as soon as they were 
informed of Congressman DeLay's involvement with FAA on 
tracking the Laney aircraft.\1\ Immediately upon learning of 
the issue, DOT's Chief of Staff promptly informed the Security 
of Transportation, the Deputy Secretary, and the DOT General 
Counsel of Cong. DeLay's request and FAA's response. These top 
DOT officials decided to immediately begin an investigation 
into the extent of FAA's involvement and whether FAA resources 
had been misused.
    \1\ DOT's Chief Counsel was not notified of the DeLay phone calls 
and the FAA response to those calls until nine days after the incident. 
We believe, and the Inspector General concurs, that senior DOT 
officials should have been notified immediately after the first request 
for FAA assistance. The recently released FAA policy would provide for 
such notice.
    The Inspector General also recognizes the seriousness of 
the issue. In his report he states: ``When the Administrator 
[of FAA] and the Secretary [of DOT] were finally informed of 
[FAA Assistant Administrator for Congressional Relations] 
Balloff's contact with Rep. DeLay's staffer, they recognize its 
importance and, in our opinion, took timely and appropriate 
action to have the circumstances investigated.'' DOT's quick 
grasp of the severity of the problem resulted in an almost 
immediate investigation by DOT General Counsel Kirk Van Tine. 
That investigation was then superceded by the DOT Inspector 
General's investigation.
    FAA's subsequent response to this incident shows that FAA 
has serious reservations about the way its resources were used. 
On July 15, FAA issued a policy on how it would respond to 
similar future requests. Under this policy had Congressman 
DeLay's office asked FAA to track an aircraft, FAA would have 
asked why the information was being requested. (In the calls 
that were made on May 16, the purpose was never revealed.) Upon 
learning that the purpose was to track down Texas state 
legislators, the request to track the aircraft would have been 
denied. That decision could only be overruled by the FAA 
Administrator or the Secretary of DOT. This policy is itself a 
recognition by FAA that its personnel and resources should not 
be used to aid one side in a political battle.
    The Inspector General's report reveals the extent of the 
partisanship involved with the requests to FAA. One of the 
callers to FAA suggested a full-fledged search and rescue 
effort to find the Laney plane. FAA rejected this request 
because there was no reason to believe that the plane was 
missing because of an accident. Another request even went so 
far as to inquire about possible criminal prosecution because 
the plane had gone off FAA radar when it descended below 4,000 
feet. FAA rightly told the caller that no FAA regulations had 
been violated.
    The FAA resources that were mobilized for the search for 
the Laney plane are similar to those that would have been used 
if a plane were believed to be missing because of an accident. 
Indeed, the efforts to find the Laney plane exceeded those that 
would have been required for a single accident because there 
were actually two searches requested and conducted: the Laney 
plane was located at Ardmore as a result of the first search; 
when the Laney plane subsequently left Ardmore, a second search 
was initiated.
    The FAA's ability to locate missing aircraft is a vital 
part of our safety system. Efforts to use FAA's resources for 
political disputes threaten this vital safety resource. 
Political requests necessarily divert FAA personnel from that 
primary safety mission, and create cynicism and disillusion in 
FAA's dedicated work force.
    Nowhere is this better captured than in the comments of the 
FAA's Assistant Administrator for Congressional Relations. When 
he received the first call, the Assistant Administrator assumed 
that he was being asked to help locate a plane with a safety 
problem. The next day after reading about the incident in the 
newspaper, he learned that the so-called problem was not 
safety, but politics. His reaction is striking.

          I just felt like I had been used * * * and I just did 
        not like * * * somebody calling me for political 
        reasons. * * * I would never use my office to help 
        somebody out politically, for any political reasons, 

    The issues at stake here--misuse of federal resources for 
partisan, political gain--cannot be abided. The American people 
deserve better.

                                   Robert Menendez.
                                   Jim Oberstar.
                                   Timothy Bishop.
                                   Michael E. Capuano.
                                   Nick Lampson.
                                   Rick Larsen.
                                   William O. Lipinski.
                                   Corrine Brown.
                                   Jerrold Nadler.
                                   Peter DeFazio.
                                   Michael H. Michaud.
                                   Anthony Weiner.
                                   Juanita Millender-McDonald.
                                   Eddie Bernice Johnson.
                                   Eleanor Norton.
                                   Gene Taylor.
                                   Bob Filner.
                                   Jerry F. Costello.
                                   Elijah E. Cummings.
                                   Jim Matheson.
                                   Earl Blumenauer.
                                   Nick Rahall.
                                   Bill Pascrell.
                                   Mike Honda.
                                   Tim Holden.
                                   Brad Carson.
                                   Leonard L. Boswell.
                                   Lincoln Davis.
                                   Shelley Berkley.
                                   Julia Carson.
                                   Ellen O. Tauscher.
                                   Joseph M. Hoeffel.
                                   Brian Baird.

                             SEPARATE VIEWS

    There are broad underlying issues with regards to House 
Resolution 288, reported unfavorably from the House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The intent of the 
resolution was two-fold, to ensure that the gross misuse of 
Federal resources--in this case the utilization of FAA 
resources for political purposes--is never repeated, and to 
procure all relevant documents related to this specific 
incident. The consensus reached in reporting the bill 
unfavorably is a result of the Federal Aviation 
Administration's (FAA) willingness to provide complete and 
accurate information to the Committee of jurisdiction. We are 
therefore satisfied that the resolution has been effective with 
regards to obtaining all pertinent and relevant information 
from the Federal Aviation Administration chronicling every 
facet of their involvement in this incident. Unfortunately, the 
candor and willingness to provide all relevant information has 
not been demonstrated by the Department of Homeland Security or 
the Department of Justice.
    We still maintain that the actions of the Office of the 
Majority Leader constitute a gross misuse of Federal resources 
and undermine the core mission of the Federal Aviation 
Administration--an agency charged with maintaining the safety 
of our nation's airways. This assertion is buttressed by the 
subsequent rule changes undertaken by FAA Administrator Blakey 
and Secretary of Transportation Mineta. The sheer fact that 
changes in rules governing the access to flight information by 
Federal officials were undertaken is a clear indication that 
Federal resources were indeed abused by Congressional officials 
to affect a state political issue. In as much as this incident 
has prompted a comprehensive review of FAA procedures, it is 
fair to assume that the FAA and the Department of 
Transportation Inspector General's office feel this incident 
indicates that an opportunity for potential future abuses/
misallocations of Federal resources could still exist, and thus 
the rule change has been implemented.
    The events that lead to the Committee hearing and 
subsequent markup have indeed received much warranted 
attention. The period beginning May 11, 2003, and ending May 
16, 2003, are the dates in question, and as the facts 
demonstrate, this is the period of time when the Office of the 
Majority Leader contacted the Federal Aviation Administration 
to inappropriately employ their assistance in locating the 
aircraft of Pete Laney. The Office of the Majority Leader 
inquiry, and the subsequent search by FAA and possible other 
Federal agencies, was prompted by political concerns stemming 
from the legal, legislative actions of the Democrats in the 
Texas House of Representatives. As was discussed in testimony 
by Representative Green in the hearing on H. Res. 288, the 
Texas Democrats, in an attempt to thwart a partisan 
redistricting effort at the Texas state level, employed a time-
honored and legal tradition of ``quorum-busting.'' In order to 
effectively deny a quorum, the Texas Democrats boarded buses 
and planes, and relocated in Ardmore, Oklahoma, an area out of 
the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
    In response to the legislative maneuvers undertaken by the 
Texas Democrats, the Speaker of the Texas House of 
Representatives, in concert with the Texas AttorneyGeneral and 
the Governor of Texas, began a comprehensive search for the legislators 
in an attempt to return them to the Capitol and restore a quorum. We 
have been unable to identify and determine when and who contacted the 
office of the Majority Leader from these aforementioned Texas offices, 
given the destruction of all documents relating to this incident at a 
Texas state level. However, the crux of the Transportation Committee's 
hearing focuses upon the inappropriate use of the Federal Aviation 
Administration resources by the Office of the Majority Leader. At 
approximately 4:00 p.m. on May 12, 2003, a senior staffer from the 
Office of the Majority Leader contacted the FAA Assistant Administrator 
for Government Affairs and Industry, David Balloff, to inquire about 
the location of N711RD, the plane owned by Pete Laney.
    During the phone conversation between David Balloff and a 
staffer from the Office of the Majority Leader, the location of 
the plane was provided and the staffer was advised that the 
plane would be landing seven minutes later in Ardmore, OK. Upon 
receiving this information, the staffer from the Office of the 
Majority Leader made subsequent requests for the locations of 
the plane on May 11, the day before. Allegedly, throughout the 
conversation, the FAA official never questioned the reasons why 
the Office of the Majority Leader was requesting this 
information and tying up Federal resources specifically 
dedicated for other purposes. It is quite disturbing that 
Federal officials, not working in a law-enforcement or public 
safety capacity, could obtain this information without stating 
a general purpose for requesting the information. Obviously, 
considering the rule changes that have grown out of the 
incident in question, the Department of Transportation, in 
conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration has 
determined that the series of phone calls from the Office of 
the Majority Leader to the FAA on May 12, 2003, were at best 
questionable and a highly inappropriate abuse of Federal 
resources for questionable purposes.
    Although Mr. DeLay and some Members of this Committee argue 
that his inquiries were insignificant, the telephone transcript 
attached to the Inspector General's letter to Senator Lieberman 
demonstrates how many FAA personnel and resources were 
unwittingly recruited into Mr. DeLay's hunt for the Texas 
legislators. As the attached chart details, two telephone calls 
from Mr. DeLay's senior staff member a little after 4 p.m. EDT 
on May 12th set off a round of inquiries that ended up 
involving two offices in FAA's Washington headquarters and air 
traffic control facilities in San Angelo, Texas, Fort Worth, 
Texas, and McAlester, Oklahoma. In the eight hours following 
Mr. DeLay's inquiries, at least thirteen different FAA 
employees used their time, expertise, and equipment to track 
down and locate an aircraft that, as Inspector General Mead 
testified, was in no danger and was violating no FAA rules or 
    It is our unyielding view that at no time should Federal 
resources be utilized to affect the outcome of any state 
political issue. Rules governing the use of Federal resources 
for these purposes should and must be held sacrosanct. If 
Members of the House or the Senate are allowed to use Federal 
resources to track political opponents, as appears to be the 
situation in the incident in question, then we have strayed 
from the duties that we were elected to perform. Our laws exist 
expressly to prevent resources of the Federal government from 
being used as a broadsword in a state political dispute. Those 
who seek to characterize this resolution and the related 
hearing and markup as political are entirely correct. The use 
of Federal resources to further the interests of a political 
party are intrinsically political, and represent conduct which 
ill-behooves the legislative process and this institution.
    While we are pleased that the Investigator General of the 
Department of Transportation conducted a fair and balanced 
investigation, releasing all relevant information to the 
Committee of jurisdiction, the same cannot be said for the 
investigations related to the Department of Homeland Security 
and the Department of Justice. Full and impartial 
investigations have not occurred. Therefore, though we have 
recommended that the Resolution be reported unfavorably out of 
the Transportation Committee--due to the thorough and complete 
investigation performed by the Department of Transportation 
Investigator General--we remain concerned that the Department 
of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice still refuse 
to provide complete information to requests made by 
Representative Green and Senator Lieberman.

                                   Eddie Bernice Johnson.
                                   Mike Thompson.